In the ongoing Zhuhai Air Show, a Russian promotional computer-generated (CG) video shows one of their missiles hitting a Chinese warship, possibly causing an embarrassing situation for the exhibitors.
While it is unclear whether the hosts (China) and their military members visiting the stall have officially taken up the matter, officials explain it is unlikely, as the oversight has happened in the commercial realm rather than diplomatic and is unlikely to impact Russian-Chinese ties and military-strategic partnership.
The Zhuhai Air Show, which commenced on November 8 and will end on November 13, is China’s largest defense and aerospace exhibition.
This year is unprecedented in terms of the diversity and range of homegrown Chinese products displayed, with dozens of new drones, unmanned surface and ground vehicles, highly sophisticated and upgraded tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and military land systems.
The highlight, however, is the J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ stealth fighter, four of which flew past, landed, taxied, and were parked in the display airside for a close-up view.
The surrounding geopolitical situation, however, is particularly significant, where both Russia and China perceive the United States is interfering in their core interests (Ukraine and Taiwan), leading to increased convergence in positions on nearly all international, economic and political issues.
The war in Ukraine continues and has shown no signs of subsiding, with both sides hardening their positions.
Russia’s Anti-Ship Missile Video ‘Gaffe’
The video shows a stall of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-run weapons export company, under which all Russian arms manufacturers sell their wares internationally.
These include the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), United Shipbuilding Corporation, Almaz-Antey (missile and radar systems developers), AVTOVAZ, KAMAZ (military truck maker), Kalashnikov Concern, Russian Helicopters, Uralvagonzavod, etc.
During exhibitions, individual Russian arms companies like the Sukhoi Design Bureau (or Sukhoi Joint Stock Company), Mikoyan Gurevich JSC, Illyusin JSC, Tupolev JSC, Yak JSC, and Beriev JSC usually organize their stalls under the Rosoboronexport banner. The video shown in the tweet is also on a screen with ‘Rosoboronexport’ written.
The video shows a MiG-29 or a MiG-35 in a low-altitude flight over the sea, indicating a Maritime Strike role. It is shown carrying a Kh-31A Anti-Ship Missile (AShM), an electro-optical targeting pod, an air-to-ground guided bomb, and a pair of short-range air-to-air (AAM) missiles under the right wing.
After traveling a certain distance, the jet fires the missile and hits the bridge of a warship, which looks strikingly similar to a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type-52D destroyer.
The narration in the video says, “The missile’s maneuverability ensures effective penetration of air defense and a high probability of kill.”
The video could have been made for Indian buyers, particularly the Indian Navy, expecting a future clash with the PLAN in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Did An Indian Company Make The Video?
The tweet by the handle @EK_Valensvek mocked and said he learned from his friend that an Indian company developed the video, resulting in them depicting a Chinese military target.
He wrote: Russian military export sector in Chinese Zhuhai Airshow, displaying a CG video of MiG-29 launching Kh-31, and sunk a Chinese type 052D destroyer. My friends suggest that they outsourced the CG vid to an Indian company, so we got such a video. What is Russia doing?
Russian military export sector in Chinese Zhuhai Airshow, displaying a CG video of MiG-29 launching Kh-31, and sunk a Chinese type 052D destroyer😳
My friends suggest that they outsourced the CG vid to an Indian company, so we got such a vid
What Russia doing?🤣 pic.twitter.com/Q3vSd5rxnL
— Erik Valensvek 🇬🇧🇨🇳 (@EK_Valensvek) November 9, 2022
This, however, seems unlikely, given Russia’s notable advancements in CGI and VFX graphics, based on the range of recent science fiction movies that have come out of the country. All of the films are available on online streaming services.
Moreover, a country with a sophisticated defense industrial base like Russia, which has also long been a major arms exporter, must have an established base of animation and graphic design companies for marketing and promotional activities.
EurAsian Times spoke to a retired Indian Army Brigadier with experience coordinating with Russian arms makers during defense deals.
He believes it to be an internal slip-up from the manufacturer, JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation, which must have accidentally used the same video used for Indian audiences.
“Either they did not create a separate video for Chinese customers showing a US Navy Arleigh-Burke destroyer being sunk or simply played the wrong file at the exhibition,” he said.
Whatever it may be, many netizens found it hilarious that an Indian engineer could be behind the Russian gaffe.